Nation in dark, 17,000 acre land to be transferred to Bangladesh
Asim Kumar Mitra
The style of work adopted by the UPA-II government is most unfortunate as many a times they say something and do something completely opposite to their earlier commitment. West Bengal, for instance, is the worst sufferer of this act of UPA-II. This is regarding sharing the water of Teesta River with Bangladesh and then handing over of Indian land belonging to West Bengal to Bangladesh in the name of Indo–Bangladesh Pact on Land-border fixation. Mamata Banerjee, Chief Minister of the State has stood up strongly against this proposition of the Central Government.
During the Teesta water controversy, she said: “I am sympathetic towards Muslim plight, but that does not mean that I shall compromise with the national interest.” Indian Government has already handed over a vast area of land from Assam and Tripura to Bangladesh without taking the consent of those states. Mamata has written in her Face Book that the Central Government is frequently forgetting its federal responsibility of taking permission from the concerned states for such handing over of land. This is most unfortunate.
Now they have proposed to hand over 17,000 acres of West Bengal land to Bangladesh which is, according to her, totally illegal as they have kept the State in dark and did not care to take the permission of the State. Of course, they have further mentioned that Bangladesh will, in exchange, give India 7,000 acres of land. Here, there is a point of confusion as the fact came to light that immediately after the assuming of power by Trinamool Congress in the State, the Chief Secretary Samar Ghosh had written a letter to the Central Foreign Secretary confirming the consent of transferring land to Bangladesh. This letter was disclosed by the Central Government and Mamata became alert and she started negotiation with the External Affairs Ministry and they went on for several occasions without getting any fruitful result.
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had further written in her Face Book that during the last two years, her government had several sittings with the National Security Advisory Board and two external affairs ministers (one present and one former) . They have informed that it has been quite logical to say that before taking any land from any State or person prior permission should be taken from the concerned party.
She wrote that in case of sharing of Teesta water pact also the Central Government did the same thing. The amount of water to be given to Bangladesh was decided upon some figure and in the initial hand out of the pact it was written differently. When this has come to light, the Central Government had started its diverting tactics saying that BJP is going to support the Bill in Parliament although it was already known to all that Assam and West Bengal BJP units have declared their opposition to this Bill. To ward off this confusion the Opposition leader of Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj said in a statement, “Under no circumstances Indian land could be handed over to Bangladesh”.
It was in 1976, that a pact was signed by Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and Smt. Indira Gandhi to sort out the problems regarding land sharing between the two countries. To implement this pact 119th amendment of the Constitution of India was necessary. Till date that amendment was not passed in the Indian Parliament. The successive governments of Bangladesh had been complaining on this count.
In September, 2011, the prime ministers of the two countries (Manmohan Singh and Sheikh Hasina) signed an accord on border demarcation and exchange of adversely held enclaves, however the Indian Parliament has yet to ratify it. Under this intended agreement the enclave residents could continue to reside at their present location or move to the country of their choice.
In the meantime Government of Kerala has given grant for madrasas renovation. Recently the government distributed Rs 35.55 crore for the renovation of madrasas in the State. Central Government has allocated a total of Rs 70.97 crore under the Madrasas Renovation Project for the State. The first phase of the distribution of grant was inaugurated by Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) supremo and State Industries Minister PK Kunjalikkutty. This should be observed as a contrast to what RBI wrote the other day to Dewaswom Board and major temples in Kerala. Letter demanded a stock statement of the gold they possess. Hindus are afraid, it is in conformity with the economists’ view to sell gold as a measure to counter the price hike and fall in the value of our currency. All are equal, some are more equal than others.
The aforementioned should be read along with the reports from Maharashtra and West Bengal. On September 4 , Maharashtra Cabinet decided that during 2014 financial year, Government of Maharashtra will give Rs 10 crore to 200 madrasas. It is reported that the State does have 1,889 madrasas and, 145,885 students are enrolled in them.
In West Bengal a week after high court struck down the State grant for imams and muezzins, Mamata Banerjee stated that she believed in democratic process; therefore, minorities, imams and muezzins and their development will be protected as per the law. —T Satisan
Kolkata HC struck down imams and muezzins honorarium
Major jolt to Mamata Government
The Kolkata High Court on September 2 struck down the decision of West Bengal government to give monthly honorarium to imams and muezzins, calling it ‘arbitrary’ and ‘offending to the Constitution’. The 44-page judgement was delivered on four writ petitions — including one by the BJP — filed against the government notifications of April 9 and May 2, 2012. Through these notifications government had announced monthly doles of Rs 2,500 for imams and Rs 1,000 for muezzins.
A section of belligerent Muslim leaders came out with fiery statements against the said judgment and declared their decision to fight against the judgment in the higher court of law. They have alleged that a section of government pleaders have sabotaged against them. The State government has also declared that they would go to the higher court against this judgment.
After the judgment was pronounced, the Muslim population of West Bengal was vertically divided. Those who welcomed the judgment, said that it was the duty of the Wakf Board to arrange funds to pay monthly allowances to the poor imams and muezzins. They further said that according to the Islamic rule Imams cannot accept any money from the government. Last year, in the month of April, Dr Nazrul Islam, Additional Director General of Police, West Bengal, wrote a book Musalmander Karaniyo (Duties and responsibilities of Muslims). In that book he questioned the propriety of accepting imam-allowance from government He said that this was an election gimmick. Muslims should know their own Islamic rules and at the same time they should know the provisions of Indian Constitution which does not approve any such allowance could be paid on religious consideration.
It is a fact that the government of West Bengal has already issued orders to stop payment of allowance to the imams and muezzins Simultaneously; they had lost no time to assure the aggrieved imams and muezzins that they would be paid their due in a round about manner after manipulating accounts. So they need not be worried. Urban Development Minister of West Bengal, Firhad Hakim said, “The Mamata Banerjee government will strive to protect the interests of minorities in Bengal.” But the CPM leader Abdur Rezzak Mollah lashed out Firhad Hakim by saying, “The government is bent on making false promises. Now it will say their intentions were thwarted legally, but people understand that they are being fooled.”
Secretary of Murshidabad Maktab Immam Association Manirul Islam said that the Kolkata High Court’s order was not against payment to imam and muezzins but they only wanted to be sure that this allowance should be paid by the Wakf Board’s own money. —AKM
Catholics in Goa are culturally Hindu—Manohar Parrikar
“India is a Hindu nation in the cultural sense. A Catholic in Goa is also Hindu culturally because his practices don’t match with Catholics in Brazil except in the religious aspect, a Goan Catholic’s way of thinking and practice matches a Hindu’s,” said Goa Chief Minister Shri Manohar Parrikar in an interview to New York Times’ India blog.
Shri Parrikar heads a State, where the Catholic population is just under 30 per cent of its 1.5 million population.
The 57-year-old Shri Parikkar said he was a “perfect Hindu” but added that it was his personal faith and that “it has nothing to do with government”. Shri Parrikar took pains to distinguish Hindu as a cultural rather than a religious term. “I am not the Hindu nationalist as understood by some TV media -not one who will take out a sword and kill a Muslim. According to me, that is not Hindu behaviour at all. Hindus don’t attack anyone, they only do so for self-defence —that is our history,” he said. —Bureau Report